BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Friday, May 9, 2014

GC GIVEAWAY & GUEST POST by P.M. Carlson


Hello and welcome. Come in and get comfy. Today I have a guest post for you on why author P.M. Carlson decided to set her mystery series during the Vietnam era and there's a tour wide giveaway for a gift card at the end. So grab a beverage and enjoy!

P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Find P.M. Online:

Publisher Website - http://www.crumcreekpress.com



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Why did you decide to write a Vietnam-era series featuring a statistician and an actor?

I didn’t, not consciously. I decided to write a mystery with a detective who was a working mom, like me. In traditional mysteries, the majority of famous detectives were loners-- Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe. Mothers were minor characters who begged the hero not to take risks, if they existed at all. Even Nancy Drew had no mother, just an indulgent dad. But even though I was a working mom, I was definitely against crime, and it was fun to think about having adventures. So I decided my detective would be a working mom, and that I’d begin writing about her when she was still in school, turning into a mother who could juggle work and family and crime-fighting.

I set the early books at universities in the Vietnam era because I knew that scene so well. Selecting a field of study for Maggie took some thought. I’d worked in several areas that Maggie could have gone into. As a character, she chose statistics because, in the first book, she has a very painful emotional experience and wants to get away from literature and theatre to lick her wounds. To me as a writer, the advantage of her choice of statistics was that it got her involved with a variety of projects in the sciences and social sciences.

Although my degrees are in linguistics and experimental psychology, I loved reading and volunteering for campus shows. Eventually I married an actor/director/professor of theatre. It seemed to me that Maggie also would like having a life that included theatre and family and an interesting outside job.


I haven’t done much active crime-fighting, myself. But Maggie’s taller and more athletic, so I figured she could handle it.

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MURDER UNRENOVATED (Maggie Ryan 1972)

An Anthony Award nominee. A Macavity Award nominee.

 

Maggie and Nick hope to buy a lovely old brownstone. It looks like a dream house for a young couple expecting their first child, but problems show up. It needs renovation. There's a stubborn tenant who refuses to move out.

 

And then there's the corpse on the top floor. . . .


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

ABOUT MURDER UNRENOVATED, A 1989 NOMINEE FOR MACAVITY AND ANTHONY AWARDS
 
“Terrific characters, funny incidents, genuine suspense, and an absolutely right sense of period and place." -- Tom and Enid Schantz, THE PURLOINED LETTER
 
Publisher: Crum Creek Press
Series: Maggie Ryan Mysteries #4
Format: ebook, paperback
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TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY
One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN gift card.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/03/virtual-book-tour-maggie-ryan-mystery.html
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

23 comments:

  1. What do I like about mysteries trying to figure out the answer before its revealed to you

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    1. I agree, Louisa May! The suspense is fun, and the emotional empathy when the characters are good, but the best mysteries keep your mind engaged with a good puzzle too!

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  2. In reading mysteries, I enjoy the culprit anticipation feeling and/or twisted/dark turn of events. Also, I always like an unpredictable ending.

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    1. In writing mysteries, i usually (not always!) know who the culprit will be. But of course I have to think up other possibilities too, and I usually get very caught up in all the characters' stories and motivations. So sometimes at the end a different person seems more likely, and I have to give my first choice an alibi and promote the new guy to murderer!

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  3. I haven't heard of this series yet, but it looks interesting! I'll have to add the first one to my tbr list.

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    1. Thanks! I always like to read series where the detective grows and is changed by the adventures, so that's how I wrote the Maggie Ryan series too. In the first three books she goes to college and meets her soulmate (but doesn't accept it for a while), and by MURDER UNRENOVATED she's starting a family. I enjoyed working through these different stages of life as it might have been for Maggie back in the Vietnam era, with the special challenges and opportunities women faced then.

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  4. Thank you for hosting the Maggie Ryan mysteries!

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  5. I like the logical process and the investigation surrounding the discovery of the true culprit. I especially enjoy when this culprit was supposed to be just an innocent bystander or someone totally unexpected, like the perceived 'false' victim of the crime, someone who is thought to have a perfect solid alibi or such an obvious suspect none actually thought was the real bad guy :P I don't mind being wrong when it comes to crime novels (even if it's especially satisfying finding out the characters you hated the most in the book is guilty:P) and I actually really like when the conclusion surprises me as long as it's plausinle and logical.

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    1. Yes, that's definitely part of the pleasure of a good mystery. Suspense novels keep you nervous and turning pages, but you often know from the beginning who the bad guy is. Fair-play puzzle mysteries also have a lot of suspense but add that mental challenge, so you're thinking while you shiver!

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  6. I absolutely love it when my heart is racing to find out who did it. Also it makes me feel like its me that is in the book and I am that character.

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    1. Right, having characters you can identify with heighten the suspense. Also vice-versa, I think. I read novels for interesting human stories about people who face and solve problems-- but if the stories involve danger and suspense, I learn even more about the characters, and feel as though I've been through it with them.

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  7. Mysteries are my favorite genre. I love trying to figure out who did it right along with the main character. This looks like a good series.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne! In the Vietnam era people struggled to solve problems of violence and unfairness, so there was plenty of crime to write about in a mystery. Many issues are better today, but others have come back in slightly different form. so it looks like we-- AND our mystery heroes-- still have plenty of problems to solve!

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  8. It was quite the tour, and the whole series looks really fun!

    vitajex(At)Aol(Dot)com

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    1. Thanks-- yes, the tour was a month long, and came at the same time as two big face-to-face conventions-- Mystery Writers of America, and Malice Domestic! So I'm puffing a little, but it was really worth it. I love reading your comments and having these conversations with you all!

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  9. Love mysteries, they keep me guessing.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  10. When I read a mystery I am always wondering what is going to happen next, it keeps my mind going the whole time, waiting for that clue that makes me resolve the story in my own mind.

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    1. Yes, Rita and Gaelicark and Cheryl, clues and deduction are so important in fair-play puzzle mysteries. But stories, and interesting characters with interesting problems, are really vital to a good mystery also. Otherwise you could just go do a crossword puzzle! But a good story makes us worry about the people and rejoice when the criminal is finally discovered.

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  11. I enjoy watching the characters gather the clues and try to put them together to solve the crime. I always imagine myself as one of the crime fighters - I grew up watching some great mystery shows on TV - Ellery Queen, Columbo, McMillan and Wife, and McCloud. Thanks for the great giveaway

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    1. It's true that traditional mysteries make good TV shows. I like the ones with quirky puzzles and clues from unexpected places. Humor and danger and suspense are good additions, but too many fights and car chases are get me bored. My preference is for the ones where I can use my brain! And that's true of TV shows and novels both.

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  12. Thanks for hosting the Maggie Ryan Mysteries on Bea's Book Nook! Great comments!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Let;s talk!